Commentary

Coveted prospects with red flags

Some prospects being asked about at the trade deadline show cause for concern

Updated: July 28, 2011, 1:00 PM ET
By Kevin Goldstein | Baseball Prospectus
Jesus MonteroDerick E. Hingle/US PresswireScouts love Jesus Montero's bat, but does he have a true position?

The final week before the trade deadline was a bit of a snoozefest until Wednesday morning, when the Giants and Mets came to terms on a deal that would bring Carlos Beltran to the Bay, while the Cardinals, White Sox and Blue Jays consummated a complicated, 11-player exchange with the headlines of Colby Rasmus moving to Toronto and Edwin Jackson to St. Louis.

Finally, some prospects were dealt, but the way teams have greater interest than ever in holding onto their own might be what's caused the big holdup on so many trades in the first place.

In a recent Insider article by Buster Olney, an executive told him, "I think teams increasingly value [or over-value their prospects]. In general, most GMs would rather make financial errors than errors involving prospects."

It's a difficult thing to balance. Rarely is a rental, even a potentially impact one like Beltran, worth the six years of a cost-controlled big leaguer that one hopes to get with a prospect. But no prospect is a sure thing and even some of the best have red flags attached to them. With that in mind, here are some prospects that the playoff contenders in this market could be floating out there that should come with a "buyer beware" sign based on recent discussions with scouts.

American League East

Boston Red Sox
While the Red Sox have not been the subject of much talk in the rumor mill, there have been some predictions that they are working behind the scenes to make a big splash, and big splashes require big prospects. When the Red Sox gave right-hander Anthony Ranaudo the eighth-highest bonus in the 2010 draft class, the hope was that he'd return to the 2009 form that had him entering the spring as a potential No. 1 overall pick.

After an impressive early-season showing created some optimism, he's yet to impress at High-A Salem, with multiple scouts walking away from the 6-foot-7 right-hander wondering what the hype has been about. "He's a big guy with a good delivery, but I don't see anything special about him," said one American League executive. "His fastball spends a lot of time in the average-velocity range, and he tips his curve with a finger raised on the ball that is visible to everyone in the park. I just don't get what the big deal is about."



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